One day, a kind and impressive woman (look at all her qualifications!), Leah Devlin, sent me a message with a proposition: I was to review her book in exchange of a paperback copy of it. Needless to say, I was thrilled!
Here is the summary :
A thousand years ago, the Viking colony of Vinland was ravaged by a swift-moving plague … a curse inflicted by the sea god Ægir. The last surviving Norseman set the encampment and his longboat ablaze to ensure that the disease would die with him and his brethren.
In present-day Norway, a distinguished professor is found murdered, his priceless map of Vinland missing. The ensuing investigation leads to the reclusive world of Lindsey Nolan, a scientist and recovering alcoholic who has been sober for five years. Lindsey reluctantly agrees to help the detective who’s hunting the murderer, but she has a bigger problem on her hands: a mysterious disease that’s spreading like wildfire through the population of Woods Hole. As she races against a rising body count to discover the source of the plague, disturbing events threaten her hard-won sobriety—and her life. Will Lindsey be the next victim of Ægir’s curse?
This sounds like a good book, doesn’t it ? Well, it’s because it IS.
Let’s start with the good sides. I think her most impressive skill is the quality of her writing. It is clear and precise, her terms chosen with precision. I have never read a book with such an extensive vocabulary! It is very refreshing. Sometimes (more than thrice), I had to look up a work in a dictionary, which is incredibly rare for me to do as I possess a notable vocabulary too. I cannot stress this enough: the quality of her writing is gold! Then, Devlin makes show of a vast knowledge on diverse topics and uses it to create varied scenes in her book, such as diving, science, microbial science, etc. I must say the introduction of her main character, Lindsey Nolan, was interesting and different from what I have read in other novels. Her intrigue is well-woven, with changing point of views and the suspense being kept at every chapter. Miss Devlin even has a surprising (yet groan-provoking, haha) technique: she explains what, may it be the reason why it happened or what happened, in the next chapter or the following ones. But never in the same chapter! I found it both frustrating and page-turning. I got caught, I have to admit. She uses this tactic every time, and trust me, it works; it’s beautiful! I have found that Devlin is also very descriptive of humans, showing the sad reality of how people can be and at other times the best side of them too. I am guilty about one thing, though. I was certain there would be no big surprises and such: I was wrong. So wrong. Miss Delvin has written twists and turns when you least expect them; they are both found throughout the novel and at the end. I must say I was pleasantly surprised with all of them.
As for the bad sides, I only have two. Three if you count the fact that I would have loved for more of the story to be centered on the vikings, but that’s just my taste, haha. What I noticed first is that there is a blatant lack of emotions. It is mostly based on actions and descriptions of the environment, which are good for mystery and thrillers, it’s true. However, it had me less immersed into the story than it should have. Devlin uses too many thoughts and questions; they are good, but should be accompanied by a description of the character’s emotions. It is her novel’s biggest flaw. The other one is the fact that there are typos and missing words here and there. Of course, there are not that many, and not that annoying, but enough to be noticeable. I wouldn’t say they ruin the book, though; they’re just there and few, you know?
Overall, the novel Aegir’s Curse by Leah Devlin is, in terms of quality of writing and varied scenes, a masterpiece. I enjoyed it greatly! I only wished to be more immersed into the story. It lacked emotions, and I encourage the author to write with a bit more emotion next time. For all these reasons, I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
I simply cannot wait to read the rest of the Woods Hole trilogy and Devlin’s new series, The Chesapeak Tugboat Murders.
I wish her well in her amazing writing endeavour!